Vascular endothelial growth factor and its receptor, Flt-1, in the plasma of patients with coronary or peripheral atherosclerosis, or Type II diabetes

Clin Sci (Lond). 2002 Feb;102(2):187-94.


Since atherosclerosis is characterized by endothelial damage, re-growth seems likely to be occurring in order to repair or replace injured cells. Angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a likely mediator of these events, acts on the endothelium via a specific receptor, Flt-1. We hypothesized that patients with different manifestations of atherosclerosis, and others with diabetes, would have altered plasma levels of VEGF and Flt-1 compared with healthy individuals. Accordingly, 70 patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), 70 patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), and 70 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were recruited. We also recruited 14 patients with diabetes asymptomatic for atherosclerosis, 14 patients with diabetes and atherosclerosis, and 14 age- and sex-matched controls. VEGF and soluble Flt-1 (sFlt-1) were measured by ELISA. In the main study of PAD and CAD, VEGF was raised in both patient groups (P<0.05) compared with the controls, but was not different between the patient groups. sFlt-1 was lower in patients with PAD (P<0.05), but not in those with CAD, compared with the controls. VEGF was raised in the patients with diabetes plus atherosclerosis (P<0.05), but not in the group with diabetes alone; levels of sFlt-1 were unaltered in both diabetes groups. Our data point to changes in plasma levels of VEGF and its receptor sFlt-1 in diabetes and atherosclerosis that may have relevance for therapy and angiogenesis in these conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arteriosclerosis / blood*
  • Arteriosclerosis / complications
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphokines / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Normal Distribution
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / blood*
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / blood*
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Sample Size
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor